"Equal Suffrage Club Organized; Davis President," Oregon Journal, January 13, 1912, 16.
EQUAL SUFFRAGE CLUB ORGANIZED; DAVIS PRESIDENT
Plans Made to Conduct State-Wide Campaign for Votes for Women; Speakers Give Slogan for Fair Sex.
Permanent organization of the Men’s Equal Suffrage club was effected last evening at the Commercial club. A full set of officers was elected, and preliminary arrangements made for a state-wide campaign for the extension of the ballot to women. The assembly hall of the club was crowded. Judge Kavanaugh of the circuit court and John P. (Jerry) Rusk of La Grande, speaker of the house in the last legislature, were the principal speakers.
The officers elected were: President, W.M. Davis; vice president, Judge John P. Kavanaugh; secretary, Attorney Arthur Langguth; treasurer, W.D. Cridge; directors, Robert A. Miller, W.H. Fear and Richard Deich. A constitution and by-laws were adopted. Meetings will be held monthly, and membership is extended to voters at the next election. No women can join, as there is another organization for them. At present, work of organizing Multnomah county will be taken up, but as the campaign advances the state will be organized. The names of George N. Davis, Dr. Emmet Drako and Judge Tazwell were offered for directors, but each man declined, saying he had not the time.
Does Not “Destroy” Home.
Judge Kavanaugh said he had recently made a trip through Washington and California, during which time he talked with many people about the woman suffrage amendment. The judge said he was thoroughly convinced the old idea is erroneous that woman suffrage would destroy the simplicity of the home woman.
“I had occasion to observe this one result, and I gave particular attention in homes where I visited,” he added. “I wish to say that I found the maiden and the matron just as fair, and just as charming, as they were previous to the adoption of the suffrage amendment.
“The old prejudices against women voting are passing. Oregon is practically surrounded by states allowing women to vote. Our state should have been the first to adopt it. Woman suffrage is one of the most advanced steps in true democracy. It is the next step in popular legislation. A few years ago people did not look kindly upon this question. Woman was not then the breadwinner she is today. There are many interests today that touch the woman closer than the man. Such interests are the school, home, and herself as a wage earner.
“It has been said that politics would draw the woman down. This is an unfair statement. The result will be that woman will elevate politics. Women will force better men and better issues.”
The judge advocated the handling of the question with diplomacy. He said a campaign of education should be conducted. Publicity, the malls, and public speaking are the agencies through which the voters should be reached. It was also predicted that this would be the last campaign in this state the suffragists would have to wage, as the question would carry.
“Jerry” Rusk Speaks.
“The people adopted the Australian ballot system, the direct primary election laws, corrupt practices act, and other popular laws, but have rejected one of the most important movements for public good,” said “Jerry” Rusk. “One of the most prevalent reasons given for not extending the ballot to women is that it will degrade them. I contend that woman will purify politics. All the other popular election laws elevated politics, and the adoption of the suffrage amendment will still further clean the political arena. If Oregon would have had woman suffrage 20 years ago, the state would not have experienced some of the dirty games indulged in by politicians.”
Robert Miller, one of the old Democratic war horses, said that when it comes to taking up political questions, that woman comes with a cleaner and more ethical hand than man. She is entitled to vote as a matter of right, and not one of theory, added the speaker.
C.M. Mullen cautioned the club against nominating men who would be candidates for office, saying that the voters at large would say the move was one to advance the candidate’s election. He also advocated a campaign of education.
1912 January Permalink